By: Joe Lami
SANTA CLARA, Calif.– The mediocrity of the San Francisco 49ers continues, as they fall to 1-4, after Thursday night’s loss to division rival Arizona. The Cardinals, decimated by injuries, destroyed the 49ers in every aspect of the field in the 33-21 victory.
Backup running back, David Johnson, continued the success of running backs against the 49ers, marking the fourth straight game where the Niners conceded 100 yards to a running back. He finished the game with 157 yards on 27 carries and two scores. Both of Johnson’s scores came within five yards.
The 49ers jumped on the board first for the fourth time this season, but once again, it would go just downhill from there for San Francisco. After an abysmal first quarter from both teams, that saw a combined 113 yards of total offense; San Francisco opened the scoring in the second when Blaine Gabbert found Jeremy Kearley on a nine-yard connection.
Kearley has easily become Gabbert’s favorite target, getting 13 looks on Thursday. He caught eight of them for 102 yards. With the addition of Kearley comes the absence of Torrey Smith, who saw just one target on an incomplete deep ball.
Mistakes became the downfall for the 49ers, as they turned the ball over three different times against Arizona, all of which occurred within their own 25 yard-line; which led to 17 of the Cardinals points. Gabbert was to blame on two of the turnovers, in which he threw interceptions. Calais Campbell came down with the first off a tipped ball in the second quarter, and Marcus Cooper opened up the final frame jumping Kerley’s route for the second.
The biggest mistake for San Francisco occurred on the second half kick-off, when the game was tied at seven, when Chris Davis fumbled the ball at his own 14-yard line, giving Arizona all the momentum to start the half.
The Cardinals were without their starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, who didn’t play because of a concussion he suffered last Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams. Instead, Drew Stanton went under center for the Cardinals.
Stanton struggled, but still did enough to win the contest, finishing 11 of 28 passing for 124 yards and two touchdown passes. Both TD passes went to Larry Fitzgerald, who continues his outstanding season, as he brings his touchdown total to five on the season.
Rumblings of a quarterback controversy started back up on Thursday as well, with fans beginning to chant “we want Kap”. 49ers’ head coach, Chip Kelly, didn’t exactly put them to bed either, as he mentioned that everyone played terribly on offensive tonight and that as a staff, it will be reviewed; though Gabbert has been the better quarterback during practice.
If San Francisco chooses to go to a new quarterback, they will have ten days before the next game to get him game ready, as the 49ers will travel to Buffalo on October 16.